This weekend something happened.
One of my school friends — a girl who had been one of my very best friends in the 6th form — died.
42 years old. Vibrant, funny, beautiful. A wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend.
Gone. Just like that.
She’d been bravely battling cancer for months; I found out in January and she told me she’d been undergoing treatment since October last year. We haven’t seen each other for years but always kept in touch and messaged occasionally over Facebook and with written letters and cards. Particularly over these last few months.
Words of positivity and hope (her) and encouragement and support (me).
It’s so dreadfully sad. I cried buckets on Friday night; for her, her husband, her children.
Cherish the ordinary.
This is the second, relatively young, person I know to have lost their lives to cancer this year. Their journeys were totally different but the outcomes, tragically, the same.
Another similarity I noted was that, once these two people found out about their illnesses, nothing was the same from that point on and their decline was relatively rapid.
‘Normal’ life went out the window and was replaced by an ominous merry-go-round of tests, consultant’s appointments, days in hospital, weeks in a hospice.
And it struck me that our lives can change, literally, in a heartbeat. Something may happen to spin us off the path we’re treading and our lives can alter dramatically. I’m not just talking about illness but a change in circumstance; redundancy, divorce — war even.
Ordinary life is something to be cherished and revered.
Simple everyday things — walking to post a letter, the big supermarket shop, cleaning, mowing the lawn, fixing a picture frame — may seem mundane but, no doubt, if the ability to do those things was taken away we’d give anything to have it all back.
Exactly as it once was.
There are so many folk striving for something better, something different — extraordinary even. Thrill seekers, adventurers, people who are just not content with their lot and are tempted by the mirage of lush, green grass on the other side.
And, in their determination to alter their lives, they may be missing out on some of the most perfect, beautiful moments. Ordinary doesn’t necessarily mean boring. Ordinary can be the most amazing times of our lives.
‘Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.’
In memory of my beautiful friend Jenni Brindley-Pye who sadly passed away on Friday. Rest in peace lovely girl. You may have gone but you’ll never be forgotten.